The head of a state agency, responsible for violent sex offenders will find out if she will keep her job this weekend. The meeting of the board of directors for the Office of Violent Sex Offender Management comes after housing plans in Austin, Houston and Liberty County caused a loud out-cry by residents.
The office of violent sex offender management is located in this building in northeast Austin. Executive Director Allison Taylor was reportedly expected to be back on the job Thursday after taking a leave of absence. When FOX 7 stopped by to see Taylor, a security guard said the camera wasn't allowed inside and later an agency staff person said she wasn't there.
"She is out of the office… I put your information down and sent it off to her….Like I said she is out of the office, so I can just tell her you came by today."
Taylor and the agency came under fire after the board chairman resigned following the relocation of several sex offenders, who are classified as violent. Residents in east Austin were notified that nine men had been placed at the Burke's supervised living center on Wheless Lane. In an earlier interview with FOX 7, the center's director, Toni Taylor, who is not related to Allison Taylor, took issue with the “violent” label for her new clients.
"That's what they've been called but I can tell you that since they've been here they've been nothing but manner-able, polite, clean, well-spoken. They have therapy sessions here two to three times a week."
The controversy is not limited to Austin and a Houston neighborhood, which also opposed a similar a relocation effort. A contract awarded earlier this year to a company to build a sex offender housing complex in Liberty County seemed to be the last straw. Government leaders and community residents there claimed they were kept in the dark about the deal until reporters from the Houston Chronicle started asking questions. There were calls for a state investigation of the agency and the Executive Director, Allison Taylor. As a result, the Liberty County building contract was tossed out and come Saturday a help wanted sign at the agency office building may also be going up.
While the agency is the focus of this controversy, the 40 other residents at the Burk's Center are also catching some heat. Center Director Toni Taylor told FOX 7 that most who are there are not sex offenders. Taylor says because of the recent news coverage several of her residents, some with mental handicaps, are getting a hard time by some people in that neighborhood.